(T-G Photo by Sissy Smith) [Order this photo]
Sponsored by the Shelbyville Times-Gazette and Kincaid Service Co., Bracket Bucks offers top prizes, including a 43-inch plasma screen television from Kincaid which will be awarded to the local point winner. The second place prize is a Holland Companion grill, also furnished by Kincaid. The Bracket Bucks national grand prize is up to $25,000.
The object of the Bracket Bucks contest is to correctly select the winners of the 64 games of the men's NCAA basketball tournament, garnering points for each correct selection.
Rhonda Jean, last year's winner, has followed basketball since she was a young girl.
"My mama and daddy used to take me all the time, and I'm like, 'Really? More basketball?'" she told us last spring. It paid off with a bracket which was tops among T-G readers and third in the national contest, receiving 1,499 out of a possible 2,000 points and winning Jean a big-screen TV.
This year's contest is exclusively in print.
The bracket entry form will be printed in a special supplement to the Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 19 Times-Gazette. The bracket can be cut out and dropped off at Kincaid Service Co. or the T-G office by 11 a.m. Thursday, March 20. Entries may be mailed to the T-G, but they must be post-marked by Wednesday, March 19 and received in the T-G's post office box by 11 a.m. Thursday, March 20.
Prizes can be seen at Kincaid Service Co., 400 Madison St.
"It's a popular contest," said T-G publisher Hugh Jones, "and even if you're not a basketball fan you probably have as much of a chance as those who follow the sport closely. Upsets and Cinderella stories happen. People have fun doing this, tacking it up on the wall and following the tournament."
Pairings for the NCAA tournament will be announced Sunday, March 16.
If you're not interested in picking tournament winners, there's another contest that may be more to your liking: our "Count the Basketballs" game, which can also be found in the T-G's special section Tuesday and Wednesday. It's a separate contest.
"We've kept it very simple," Jones said. "There's one, easy form. You can choose whether to do the brackets, the 'Count the Basketballs' contest, or both."
Several other prizes will be awarded by a drawing of correct entries in the "Count the Basketballs" contest. The prizes are provided by the pickers in our celebrity bracket contest, representing various contest sponsors.
No matter what your preference, the aim for the T-G Bracket Bucks contest is to provide our readers with another opportunity to find some fun inside the pages of the local newspaper. It's also a great vehicle for our advertisers to reach a wide audience.
Anyone can play (as long as you're 13 years of age or older). Over the last three years, three out of four of our first place winners have been women, and some have credited luck more than skill for their success.
In 2012, Jennifer Kirby won the contest. She had been picking teams since she was a little girl, and was delighted to have finally won something.
In 2011, winner Clark Anderson said he "didn't really know much about the teams" and just picked the first ones he came to.
Angela Warren, winner of our initial contest in 2010, ended up picking more accurately overall than her sports-fan husband, even though he'd advised her on some of her picks.